Concussions and My Altercation with a Coffee Table

via Google search

This weekend, I got hit in the head with a coffee table. Yes. You read that right. I did not “hit my head on a coffee table”. I was hit…in the head…with a coffee table. Talk about a good night right? Oddly enough, it was at the conclusion of a party that was 1/3 post game (GO HOKIES!), 1/3 birthday celebration for a girlfriend, 1/3 birthday celebration for me. I was laying on a couch cushion while my friends were setting the apartment back to its original state after making sure the table (sitting on its side) was far enough away from me. I think I nodded off for a split second, after maybe seeing someone heading to walk past me, then WHAM! Coffee table. In my state of mind, the pain didn’t hit me until after the ferociously loud noise did.

As my friend was trying to assess my level of consciousness by having me follow his finger, I became nauseous on a second front with one of my eyes half covered thanks to me clutching my now throbbing head. I managed to get a bruise on the left side of my head…and on the outside of my right knee and on my right hand. Figure that one out. My bruises are beside the point. This all made me wonder if I’d gotten my first concussion. Of course I refused to look up any symptoms beyond those I already knew so as not to imagine I had any of them.

via NIH

So let’s talk symptoms (as laid out by NIH):

  • Altered level of consciousness (drowsy, hard to arouse, or similar changes)
  • Confusion, feeling spacey, or not thinking straight
  • Headache
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Memory loss (amnesia) of events before the injury or immediately after
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seeing flashing lights
  • Feeling like you have “lost time”

Should you experience any of the following, seek immediate medical care:

  • Changes in alertness and consciousness
  • Convulsions (seizures)
  • Muscle weakness on one or both sides
  • Persistent confusion
  • Persistent unconsciousness (coma)
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Unequal pupils
  • Unusual eye movements
  • Walking problems

An MRI, head CT or EEG can be used to diagnose a concussion. Luckily for me, a hospital visit was unnecessary. My only real symptom seems to have been the headache accompanying my super huge bruise…that still hurts 5 days later.

via Google search

Post concussion, DO NOT take aspirin, Advil or similar drugs. Eat light, avoid exercise or vigorous activities and alcohol until recovery. Tylenol/acetaminophen is fine to treat headaches. And learn from my mistake. If you want to curl up on a couch cushion with a coffee table nearby, wear a helmet.

For more on concussions, click here.

:: Also, great news! The LVH kittens (aka the Fantastic Four) came back negative for FIV!!! ::


VMCAS Deadline Countdown: 25 days



Polydactyl Cat

Image by failing_angel via Flickr

The inspiration for this post is from a cat I met while shadowing at a Veterinary Hospital. I believe she was a Maine Coon and the poor thing came in with an extra digit on each of her front paws. The bad part wasn’t the digits, but the ingrown nails between them. Oddly enough, the nails had no pad associated with them so they were just growing from the webbing. The right paw was the worst with the actual ingrown nail (and a possible infection) and the left paw’s randomly sprouted nail had grown to spiral like a ram horn. However, the nails are beside the point. I’ve always been intrigued by diseases, especially ones that can result in something sprouting an extra limb, so I figure why not dive into the matter of polydactyly, also known as supernumerary digits.

As you might have guessed, polydactyly is a condition where an animal has extra fingers or toes. The extra digit may be fleshy, contain bones, or even be fully functioning. The postaxial manifestation (on the side of the little finger) is most common, followed by preaxial (by the thumb) and then central (the middle three fingers). The new digit may jut from an existing, normal digit, or (when associated with the hand) from the wrist as do the other digits. The condition is a congenital anomaly, meaning it exists at or before birth.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM)/National Institutes of Health (NIH) list the following causes for polydactyly:

While supernumerary digits  may be associated with one of the preceding syndromes, or perhaps some even unlisted, it can also occur on its own. According to NIH, African-Americans, such as myself, are more prone to inheriting a 6th digit than other ethnic groups, which in most cases is not associated with a genetic disease. When occurring by itself, polydactyly might be due to an autosomal dominant mutation in a single gene.

Here’s a very short video. Very briefly, you can see the supernumerary digit.